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Cheese Curds, 1/4: Adams & Linsley contracts provide Russ Ball with ammo for GM job

The timing and Ball’s structuring of the two contract extensions should be a feather in his cap going into the interview process to replace Ted Thompson.

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 NFL: Green Bay Packers-Training Camp Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

If the Green Bay Packers’ contract extensions for Davante Adams and Corey Linsley were a trial run for Russ Ball to become the Packers’ new general manager, consider that tryout a success.

Now that the details are in for both players’ contracts, it looks like a pair of great deals for both the players and the team. As usual, the Packers provided no guaranteed money beyond the signing bonus and they protected their roster in terms of the salary cap in the early years of the deal. They also structured the contracts in a way that would allow them to more easily move on in the last year or two of the deal, something made even more feasible by signing the deals before the end of the 2017 season and spreading out the signing bonus over an extra year.

There is no question that Ball had a primary role in the structure of these contracts, as he does with every contract signed in Green Bay — team president Mark Murphy confirmed as much on Tuesday. Furthermore, if the rumors about Ball being the front-runner for the GM job are true, that would likely be a big factor in his favor.

Still, Ball has made his mark in the financial realm of the front office rather than the personnel department. And although team president Mark Murphy says he’s not limiting his search to candidates with a scouting or personnel background, it would still be a gamble, especially since one prominent scout has left for another team (Alonzo Highsmith) and the likelihood that Eliot Wolf or Brian Gutekunst might jump ship as well if they don’t get the job.

For now, all we really know is that the internal trio are scheduled for interviews this week, with Wolf’s taking place on Thursday. Stay tuned.

'He gave me a shot when nobody else would' |
Several Packers players spoke to the media earlier this week to show their appreciation for Ted Thompson. That group includes several undrafted free agents like Lane Taylor and Justin McCray, both of whom said that Thompson was the reason they are in the NFL today.

2017 PFF NFL All-Pro Team | Pro Football Focus
Sure, David Bakhtiari didn't make the Pro Bowl (which is still absurd), but he was named the first-team All-Pro by PFF, which is just as good, right?

Packers save cap room with Adams, Linsley deals |
We finally have complete details on the structure of both Davante Adams’ and Corey Linsley’s contracts. In both cases, it appears that the Packers would be able to negotiate restructures or cut the players before the 2020 season should they fail to live up to their cap hits for those seasons.

Davante Adams' new deal with Packers puts him at No. 4 on WR pay scale - ESPN
That 4th-place ranking is based on average annual compensation over the length of the new deal, and leaves Adams behind only Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and A.J. Green. Still, it's not hard to imagine that he would have gotten more money on the open market.

Report: Packers expected to have interest in former Bills GM Doug Whaley | Packers Wire
This is interesting -- although Russ Ball is the early front-runner according to some NFL sources in and around the team, the recently-departed Whaley (who was just fired after the 2017 NFL Draft) is apparently garnering some interest as well.

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